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ICGR 2012: Objectives & Background


The objectives of the 2012 Conference are to take stock of progress over the last five years in designing and implementing programmes for deep geological repositories for long-lived high-level waste, and to advance mutual learning in this international forum as participants exchange perspectives and experience. The Conference is designed to invite information sharing and discussion across countries regarding: policy development; safety; regulatory frameworks; planning and implementation of repository programmes with societal involvement; and work underway within international organisations.


Long-lived high-level radioactive waste must be isolated from the human environment over long time scales. There is worldwide consensus that deep geological repositories provide the required long-term safety and security and are feasible using current technologies. However, implementing this approach is not a purely technical or scientific issue. Meeting societal requirements and expectations is recognised as a prerequisite to implementing geological repositories, and local and regional involvement is an essential component of the decision-making process.

Similar international conferences were held successfully in 1999 (Denver, Facing Common Challenges), 2003 (Stockholm, Political and Technical Progress) and 2007 (Bern, A Common Objective, A Variety of Paths), and they were each attended by 200 senior decision-makers from all over the world.

In 2008, the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency issued a Collective Statement regarding the suitability and the feasibility of geological disposal for radioactive waste. In recent years, there have been important further developments within national programmes, and led by international organisations. To read the Collective Statements from 2008 and 2011 visit:



For a summary report from the last ICGR conference held in 2007, please visit:


In recent years, and building on the learning derived from past conferences, many countries have undertaken significant steps to move forward with the implementation of their geological repository programmes. For example, Finland is presently constructing the first repository for used nuclear fuel; Sweden has selected a site and has submitted applications for regulatory review; France has selected a location and is now preparing the licence application for the geological repository; and Canada has significantly advanced its siting process to identify an informed and willing host community for this project.

The timing of the 2012 ICGR in Toronto is, therefore, particularly appropriate for taking stock of recent developments and sharing experiences to date.

Learn more about how countries are advancing programmes for the safe long-term management of long-lived high-level radioactive waste in deep geological repositories.

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